For example, you were playing baseball and the ball hit you square in the mouth resulting in a tooth being lost. Emergencies of this nature are anything but routine and disrupt daily life.
Keep reading to learn what constitutes a dental emergency and when to seek out care.
Do I Need Emergency Care?
As soon as any type of pain is felt in your mouth, it can be easy to label it as an emergency. While it is wise to ask our dentists about the discomfort you may be feeling, not everything is severe enough for a visit.
Some dental emergencies include:
- Knocked-out tooth
- Broken or cracked tooth
- Abscessed tooth
- Persistent or severe toothache
- Soft tissue injuries (to cheeks, gums, tongue, or lips) that result in bleeding
- Lost dental crown
Are you experiencing one or more of the above? Call our Portage dental office right away and our team may evaluate your teeth and gums. Appropriate treatment will then be determined to alleviate your condition.
Helpful Home Care Tips
It goes without saying that a dental emergency is best treated by our dentists. But how should you manage the situation until you are able to be seen? Here are steps you should follow for a handful of dental emergencies.
- Locate the tooth and hold it by the crown (top).
- Rinse the tooth off with warm water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub.
- If possible, face the tooth the right way, then try to put the tooth back into the socket. Baby tooth? No need for this process.
- If not possible, try holding the tooth in your mouth as you travel to our office or placing it in a container of milk.
- Call and arrive at our office within an hour of your tooth being knocked out to increase the chance it’ll be saved.
Broken or Cracked Tooth
- Save any pieces of the tooth.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water and rinse any broken pieces of tooth.
- Apply gauze to the area if there is bleeding.
- Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip to keep any swelling down.
- Call or visit our dental office ASAP.
- If you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that is painful, contact our office immediately.
- Rinse with a mild saltwater solution several times a day (½ tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of water) to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface.
Persistent or Severe Toothache
- Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean out any food debris.
- Floss gently to remove any food caught between teeth.
- Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
- Take over-the-counter ibuprofen for pain relief.
- Contact our office as soon as possible.
Soft Tissue Injuries
- To stop or control bleeding, rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution.
- Use a moist piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site. Try to hold it there for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area to relieve pain.
- Go to a nearby emergency room or see our dentists right away if bleeding doesn’t stop.
Lost dental crown
- Contact our office and bring the crown with you.
- Try to slip the crown back over the tooth if possible. Before doing this, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive to hold the crown in place.
Ways to Avoid Dental Injuries
For the most part, dental emergencies are unpredictable. Yet, there are a few easy precautions you can take in your everyday life to save yourself from injury.
- Practice Daily Oral Hygiene
- Wear Mouthguards for Sports
- Avoid Chewing Hard Snacks
Practice Daily Oral Hygiene
A great place to start is to regularly practice good oral hygiene habits. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing daily. It’s a bonus if you integrate an antiseptic mouthwash into your routine to combat dental plaque.
Wear Mouthguards for Sports
If you play contact sports in your free time, our dentists recommend wearing a protective mouthguard. When you put one on, you are shielding your teeth and absorbing intense hits to your mouth. Mouthguards are an inexpensive way to.
Types of sports or recreational activities that call for mouthguards include but are not limited to football, soccer, rugby, and lacrosse.
Avoid Chewing Hard Snacks
It’s enjoyable to munch on popcorn during a movie or drink an ice-cold beverage on a summer day. What’s not so fun is a broken tooth. The good news is that a broken or chipped tooth can be avoided if you refrain from chewing on kernels, ice, or hard candy. It can be hard to break a habit of this nature, but your teeth will thank you!
When to Call Our Dentists
If you are in any kind of pain that is not subsiding with at-home methods, please call our Portage dental office immediately. Our dental staff will do their best to get you in as quickly as possible to avoid the passage of critical time.
We urge you to not ignore dental sedation options can help ease your nerves if you are anxious about seeking out treatment.. Delaying treatment can negatively impact your oral health and increase your risk of long-term complications. Our
Depending on how severe your condition is, we may recommend that you first go to a nearby emergency room. If for any reason we are unable to treat you right away or you have sustained injuries in addition to your mouth, please visit the ER.
This blog is brought to you by Kalamazoo Dentist Dr. Susan Dennis.